Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Stop Waiting For a Cure to What Ails Squash

The patient is diagnosed with cancer, the so called doctors say it's best to wait for a cure for cancer, we're almost certain the cure is close at hand. As a patient, would you not take treatment to try and arrest the spread of the disease, or would you not take treatment and wait for the cure?

That is essentially what those who believe squash in the 2020 Olympics will achieve, a cure to what ails this sport right now. I can only speak for what seems to be the case in the United States. Our National tournament, the illustrious and once prestigious SL Green Open is fielding 16 men players! And the women's draw 8 players. The patient is dying while waiting for this cure which could be right around the corner...when the patient is dead. there's no coming back.

 I applaud the Daily Squash Report which continues to carry all the angles associated with this troubling issue concerning squash. I live in New York, the greatest City, hands down, in the world but it is not even close, most likely at the bottom for Squash. Take away the Tournament of Champions and Squash in New York isn't even on the map. It is really heartwarming to hear that the West Side Tennis club is adding squash, but then that is offset by rurmors that New York Sports Club at 86th Street will be discontinuing squash.

Maybe we are going back to those dark ages where squash was played in exclusive clubs. Maybe all in roads the Khans made in the 50's and 60's to open up this closed society and make squash accessible to all who could find a public court and hit around, learn the game, play and play, went for naught. I hope not.

Perhaps it's time to call for a summit of all the squash organizations, historians, coaches, experts, directors to come together and begin to lay the ground work to reviving this great sport. Take small steps towards keeping the disease from spreading. Don't wait for one cure, the Olympics is just another method of treatment, it is NOT a cure. Yes, it will bring much more money to the top players, but not everyone who plays squash will hit that level. The game is fuelled by all those 3.0, 3.5, 4.0...players out there. They are the future of this game.

I propose the following:

once and for all let's determine if those high profile venues actually garner new players to the game?

what real impact will the Olympics have on attracting new players at all levels?

what turns the average sports person off to squash?

once and for all how many US born players play collegiate squash?

once and for all how many US born players after college continue to play past 30?

once and for all organizations like the PST (Pro Squash Tour) should be lauded for their attempts to bring squash to an audience and not squashed by the bigger more powerful organizations.

time to evaluate the vision and leadership of the squash governing bodies!

evaluate and assess this game at an independent, non-partisan level.

Once completed, get the best squash minds together, the best squash business people, the best minds who play this game at any level and set a roadmap to how to fix what is wrong. And above all, please don't wait for some miraculous cure, it may be too late by then.